Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Impatience Is Not A Virtue

If impatience were a virtue I'd have that one nailed down. It has never been in my nature to be overly patient and I think part of it is my Type A personality (if you know anything about Type A, the first characteristic of said person is time urgency and impatience. Go figure). Patience is definitely something I want to have more of and I realize that in order to perfect that virtue I need to practice it. Not just for a day, but possibly days, weeks, months... You get the picture.

My friend Bo recently wrote a post on waiting. Waiting takes patience and we've already established that I am in-lack-of. I want to wait in eager anticipation of where God is taking me and wait in complete humility and silence as I listen for God's voice directing me. But I don't like waiting. Period. And instead of waiting patiently and listening for His voice, I usually end up having a conversation with God that goes something like this:

Anne: God, I've been waiting patiently and I think I've got it all figured out so how about you go ahead and share 'the plan' with me so I can get started on this thing.

God: Silence.

Anne: Uh, God, I'm still here waiting and I know you hear me, which is really cool because you're not like me who can just pretend I didn't hear you(when my will doesn't want to do something you're telling me to do, but maybe we can deal with that one later), so maybe now you can share that really cool plan you have for me, with me. I mean the clock is ticking and with the way stuff is going in the world I'm feeling a little sense of urgency. I'm sure you are too. Right?

God: Anne, you've been waiting 6 minutes.

Anne: Wow, has it been that long?

It's easy to want to jump the gun and get ahead of myself instead of just revelling in what God is doing with me. I start to feel pretty good about something and then 'wham' I take a 'devils in the house' hit and I realize I'm not as well off as I thought. I know it's because I haven't waited long enough for God to 'sift' me because I'm human and that causes discomfort and I can be very insecure about whether I'm really valuable enough for God to love me the way He says He does. And, I'm just flat out impatient and usually run before I walk. I think my comment on another one of Bo's posts about how faith is like the leaves in the fall and whether one is a clinger (not wanting to let go when God wants you to) or a jumper (you are willing to let go) sums me up pretty well. "I am a jumper by nature, but sometimes I get impatient and don’t always ‘wait for my color to change’ and I’m the one green leaf laying on the ground." (Oh, it can be a lonely world out there.)

Having the patience to wait until God says go takes a lot of faith. Having faith while being an extremely Type A control freak takes a lot of work. The good news is progress is being made because I'm figuring it out. Slowly but surly I'm recognizing the places in my heart that need the most work and I think that feeling God's conviction about things is a big step in moving closer to his will for me. I know that I need to cling a little tighter to God and let go of the things that give me a false sense of urgency. I know God loves me and whatever insecurities I have are not from Him but the one who wants to destroy the relationship I have with God. I know that I put a lot of pressure on myself and feel a tremendous sense of judgement towards myself whether it's real or not. It comes with the high expectations I put on ME and not ever living up to those expectations and feeling failure for it.

I'm learning to accept my humanness and to not beat myself up when I fall but It's not an overnight change. I don't know that those around me totally understand it and at times feel like that one little leaf that jumped too soon. I also think sometimes, that is where God wants me. If I don't have the distraction of all the others around me it's easier to hear the one voice that truly matters.


katdish said...

As the great theologian Tom Petty (as in "and the Heartbreakers") said:

"The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part"

My hubby is Type A and I am whatever the opposite of Type A is. On a good day, we are able to point out how really laughable some of our little idiosyncracies are and joke about them. He got some of his Type A traits from his mom, so when he starts getting really anal about something, I'll just say, "Okay, Berniece! Whatever you say." And since I really am the ADD poster child, he either asks me if I remembered to take my medication or just shakes his head and laughs quietly.

I sometimes envy you Type A folks because you always seem to know how and what to do. I find myself drawn to and relying on ya'll (pardon my Texan) so that I don't have to be pressured to make the right decision...or maybe I'm just lazy.

Wow. I just re-read that comment and I had like 5 typos. I really need to get some sleep! Nighty night, my friend! And sorry you missed out on the fun earlier. I was pretty much a useless slug today...but it was fun.

Mare said...

I'm type A in some situations and type Katdish in others. It's a strange life to live. However, when it comes to waiting on God, I'm right there with you as you have probably already noticed. Decisions must be made RIGHT NOW even if they aren't going to matter for another 5 years. What's the deal with that?

The first step is admitting you have a problem right? At least we both can say we are on the up and up!

In all seriousness, well said. Love it when God moves in these subtle personality quirks. It's the little and slow refining he does on us that's so beautiful in the long run!

Sherri said...

Obviously, I'm NOT type A, however, I have noticed that if I'm in a group and No ONE is type A, I'll usually take up the cause.

Strange. Like Mare, I'm a little of both, but type A only when I have to be.

With my personality, I also find that like Katdish, I am drawn to type A personalities. MOst of my friends are Type A caretakers. They all "mother" me. I'll have to admit, I love that! I'm always losing stuff, forgetting stuff, leaving stuff behind, and my precious friends just go behind me and clean up my messes!

However, I turn type A when no one takes that position. Like with my sons, in my home, because Big AL is very laid back, I was more Type A when it came to discipline "cause SOMEBODY had to do it!

I am also a "fixer of things" and that is where I'm most impatient.
I don't like relationships to be in limbo, I don't like people to hurt or in need, so sometimes, I jump off the tree GREEN as you Annie, thinking I MUST FIX this.

This was very good.
I'll click on Bo's message to hear from her- interesting stuff.

Annie K said...

Oh yea, Type A's are fixers too. Is there some issue in the relationship? It should be fixed NOW. I mean, the answers to the problem should be figured out before the sun goes down. And we're great at assuming. Really, being Type A is a gift for sure.

I pretty much rely heavily on Jon because he is ADD and so is my daughter. He has helped me to realize a lot about how the ADD brain works because while I can understand the impulsivity (I can do impulsive with the best of them as I pointed out), I don't grasp the thinking of a zillion things at once and the disorganization. I don't ask him 'what are you thinking?', I'll say 'what things are you thinking?' and he'll shoot off in rapid fire about 10 things. It's just kind of a little joke between us.

And as far as knowing what to do? I am always calling Jon...'what would you do?' Because I like how his creative mind (a hugely POSITIVE trait of those with ADD) looks outside the box instead of just at the black and white of things. We joke about the 82 colors in his box and the 3 in mine. So you're right Katdish, it can be a good balance that way because he's known to call me with the 'what would you do?' question as well.

Mare, at least you haven't waited until deep into your 30's to figure it out!

katdish said...

Okay. One more thing then I really need to get off my big butt and git to gittin!

You mentioned "What are you thinking?" I dated a guy (the non-practicing Catholic) who, when I asked "What are you thinking about?" his reply would be, "If I wanted you to know, I'd be talking." And yet we never married...shocking, I know.

Helen said...

At least you know you are Type A. I used to think I was CDO (that is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in alphabetical order, as it rightly should be) but Katdish mentioned from my Richard III post that I sound more ADD. So now I don't know what I am. And somehow, that is okay. It is like I have been let out of some sort of box, but not put in another, and I can visit between the two.
BTW, my husband is officially OCD, but not the good kind where he clean the bathroom immaculately and free the dustbunnies I am holding captive, but the kind where he concentrates on one minor thing in his head for a really long time. Still love him. And he still loves me, even when I am jumping (hobbling?) from box to box.

Annie K said...

Good decision Katdish. He was just too snarky.

Helen, you are who you are and I guess we like to put labels on ourselves to explain away our faults. Let's just all call ourselves human...!

Beth said... mom and I have both classified ourselves as the most extroverted introverts you'll ever meet and also the messiest organized people you'll ever meet. So needless to say, I'm type A/type Katdish. Whenever I took a personality test, I always came out a strong mix of everything. And I always was kind of frustrated about that. What AM I??

However, I don't usually jump off the tree green. I am the last curled dried brown leaf that just won't let go. God himself sometimes has to pluck me off the branch so I move. But I have gotten better at jumping in the last couple of years. God wanted us to help plant a church. Jump. God wanted us to take on a building project. Jump. God wanted us to move back to Sullivan. Jump. God wanted me to quit my job and stay home with the kids. Jump. My feet hurt, but I'm a whole lot closer to God now.

Annie K said...

I like that Beth "messiest/organized". Has a ring to it.

You asked 'Who AM I?' and to me it looks like someone who is doing what God wants her to. Very cool indeed!

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Well, as the "GA Katdish," I am obviously Type Katdish. (Or maybe she's Type Steph! Yeah, I like the sound of that.)

Annie, I'm a jumper in a big way. I've always been of the opinion that sometimes you can't tell if a door is closed until you run into it.

I actually like that about me. My OCD hubby might say different, tho.

As for jumping off green, I struggle with that too. Waiting is TOUGH for me. I spent all summer waiting on God's direction with writing. He finally made it clear I was supposed to start a blog. But has he given me any OTHER info since July? NOOOOOO.

So I wait. And fight to stay focused.

I must be ADD too. I tend to go in search of distractions that make me forget to listen for God's voice.

Okay, enough commenting. I really should go do some of this thinking aloud on MY blog. :)

katdish said...

"Helen, you are who you are and I guess we like to put labels on ourselves to explain away our faults. Let's just all call ourselves human...!"

I prefer the old fashioned term "crazy". Remember when Uncle Herman was just plain crazy instead of "bipolar with aggressive tendencies?" "Crazy" is a universal, big tent kind of term.

And BTW, I just sat down to catch up on my blog reading and it's nice to know that a well documented, recognized series of neurological disorders that affects millions of people all over the world is now simply referred to as "Type Katdish". So, that was kinda special...

(P.S. - I'm totally kidding and SO not offended. As you may know, I'm not easily offended.)